Impact Stories from Professional Growth Policy Area
TechWomen travel with TechGirls to the United States
Fellow(s): Keremet Djoldoshbekova, Mutriba Akhmedova, Sevara Siradjeva, Salma Bekkouche, Reem El-Mograby, Dhelal Shorman, Maya Itani, Safaa Boubia and Faten Hammouda
Country: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Uzbekistan
Cohort: 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
TechWomen fellows from Central Asia and the MENA region accompanied TechGirls participants on their journey to the U.S. this week, officially kicking off TechGirls 2019. Fellows of Central Asia Dina Shaikhislam (Kazakhstan, 2017), Keremet Djoldoshbekova (Kyrgyzstan, 2015), Mutriba Akhmedova (Tajikistan, 2015) and Sevara Siradjeva (Uzbekistan, 2016) chaperoned the TechGirls from their respective countries, ensuring they arrived in Washington D.C. safely and ready for the exciting program ahead. The next day, MENA fellows Salma Bekkouche (Algeria, 2018), Reem El-Mograby (Egypt, 2011), Dhelal Shorman (Jordan, 2017), Maya Itani (Lebanon, 2017), Safaa Boubia (Morocco, 2018) and Faten Hammouda (Tunisia, 2015) arrived with TechGirls from MENA, joining the other alumnae and TechGirls participants in D.C.
During the week, TechWomen fellows participated in a panel at Trinity Washington University, sharing their experiences and inspiring the TechGirls to pursue STEM fields. “I told them that when I was a software engineering major, there were seven girls and 32 boys in the group,” said Mutriba. “All seven girls graduated, but there were just seven boys left from the 32! Girls are strong by nature. They can do everything they want.” Dhelal spoke about her career transition from biomedical engineering to working at a business incubator with women founders. “I told the girls to never be afraid of change – it’s the only constant in life,” she said.
This year, TechGirls expanded to Central Asia, inviting girls from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to the program. Over the coming weeks, the TechGirls cohort will gain exposure to programming, mobile application development and hands-on instruction that aims to empower and inspire them to pursue STEM fields. At the end of this month, seven additional TechWomen fellows from throughout Central Asia and MENA will travel to D.C. to return home with the TechGirls cohort. Before their departure from the U.S., the fellows will have the opportunity to hear the TechGirls’ project plans and attend a concluding capstone event.
Report Date...: 7/8/19
TechWomen and TechGirls create paths to future partnership
Fellow(s): Hania Gati, Ouafa Benterki, Djamila Douache, Nassima Berrayah, Imene Rahal, Ameni Channoufi, Fatima Zohra Benhamida and Salma Bekkouche
Cohort: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018
Last month, TechWomen and TechGirls came together for the Algeria Alumni Summit, the first event from the Algeria TechWomen-TechGirls Club. Launched in 2018 in seven program countries of MENA, TechWomen-TechGirls Clubs provide a space for career counseling, mentoring, leadership development and more.
The summit’s mission was to strengthen the TechWomen and TechGirls community and facilitate opportunities for future collaboration and mentorship. 2011 fellow Hania Gati, 2012 fellow Ouafa Benterki, 2013 fellows Djamila Douache, Nassima Berrayah and Imene Rahal, 2014 fellow Ameni Channoufi, 2017 fellow Fatima Zohra Benhamida and 2018 fellow Salma Bekkouche were in attendance, leading roundtables on mentorship, entrepreneurship and Algeria’s tech landscape. The fellows also joined a TechWomen-TechGirls panel, sharing their exchange program experiences and exploring ways alumnae can support one another. At the end of the summit, the group set goals for future collaboration, creating roadmaps for future projects, grant proposals and STEM activities.
Report Date...: 7/8/19
Fellow collaborates with mentor to host inaugural tech summit
Fellow(s): Lindiwe Matlali
Country: South Africa, United States
Last week, 2017 fellow Lindiwe Matlali organized the first-ever Girl Geek Summit in Centurion, South Africa. The two-day event was designed to motivate girls to pursue careers in STEM by exposing them to inspirational role models, exciting sessions and opportunities to build their confidence. Lindiwe, founder and CEO of Africa Teen Geeks, a computer science academy dedicated to teaching underserved communities within South Africa, envisioned the summit to address the STEM education gap; according to her, only five percent of South African schools teach computer science. “With more widespread, equal access to computer science, female mentors and role models in STEM, we believe we can drastically change these numbers,” she said.
Tapping into the expertise of local and international women leaders, the summit’s sessions supported 100 girls to explore STEM subjects through various keynotes, panel discussions, workshops and one-to-one career coaching. TechWomen Professional Mentor Eileen Brewer, who traveled to South Africa for the event, presented a workshop on tech entrepreneurship, emphasizing why the world needs more girls in STEM.
Following the success of the inaugural conference, Lindiwe is planning for the 2020 Girls Geek Summit and plans to triple the number of attendees to 300.
Report Date...: 7/1/2019
Fellows reflect on starting local Technovation chapter
Fellow(s): Elena Selezneva, Ozoda Ismailova and Saida Yusupova
In a documentary-style video, 2016 fellows Elena Selezneva, Ozoda Ismailova and Saida Yusupova share how their TechWomen experience inspired them to establish the first Technovation chapter in Uzbekistan. In the video, the fellows discuss their vision to bring home the positive benefits of mentorship, which they saw firsthand through TechWomen.
Using the Technovation Challenge model, which supports teams of girls build mobile apps to solve issues in their community, they aim to address root causes of gender inequality, illiteracy and lack of access to technology. Since its launch, hundreds of girls throughout Uzbekistan have participated in the program. In 2018, six Uzbek teams reached the semifinals, joining 1,500 teams from 115 countries; one Uzbek team made it to the world finals and pitched their app to experts in Silicon Valley.
The video also features other leaders in Tashkent, including Public Affairs Officer John Brown of the U.S. Embassy, which supports the fellows’ efforts to expand Technovation activities across the country. The fellows were also selected as a 2018 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) winner.
Report Date...: 7/1/19
Fellow selected for startup accelerator for female founders
Fellow(s): Ameni Mansouri
2018 fellow Ameni Mansouri and her startup Dabchy were one of eight startups selected by womena for its Womentum Accelerator, a four-month, experience-based program focused on enhancing female-led tech startups in the Middle East and North Africa.
Ameni is founder and CEO of Dabchy, an online marketplace for pre-owned clothes, bags and accessories in North Africa. Says Ameni, who is eager to connect with an international audience and build genuine connections with others: “We are proud to join Womentum, where the expertise and partnerships will improve our execution and ensure our growth through access to a large network and regional market,” she said. “Our business is growing and we need to think global.”
Report Date...: 7/1/19
Alumnae present at Google event for women in tech
Fellow(s): Zevar Davlatmamadova, Madina Makhmadieva and Natalya Tyudina
Recently, 2018 fellows Zevar Davlatmamadova, Madina Makhmadieva and Natalya Tyudina participated in an International Women’s Day meet-up for local women in tech. The event, hosted by Google Developers Group Dushanbe and Google’s Women Techmakers program, featured women tech professionals who shared their work and demoed new technologies.
Natalya, a software engineer, presented on Industry 4.0, demonstrating 5G, AR/VR solutions and emerging eye tracking technologies. Zevar gave a talk on the importance of self-education, showing how gaps in higher education can be supplemented by online courses and continued educational opportunities through programs such as TechWomen. Madina, a scrum master and working mother, spoke about achieving a successful work-life balance, showing how women can be ambitious and hardworking in both their professional and family lives.
Report Date...: 6/24/19
Fellow delivers address at international engineering conference
Fellow(s): Ameni Channoufi
Policy Area(s): Professional Growth
This May, 2014 fellow of Ameni Channoufi presented at the 2019 IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference in Austin. Now in its fifth year, the conference provides women in technology the opportunity to share knowledge, build community and spark innovation. Throughout the two-day convening, attendees participated in workshops on advancing women in tech, exploring the latest disruptive technologies and building a diverse talent pipeline.
Ameni is the president of Women Leaders in Technology (WoLTech), a mentoring initiative created by 12 Tunisian TechWomen alumnae. In her presentation, “Secrets to empowering a community of women: WoLTech Tunisia,” Ameni introduced the Techwomen program and its impact on her and the Tunisian community, encouraging attendees to seek mentorship and take advantage of professional opportunities.
Report Date...: 6/24/19
Fellow holds STEM competition for local secondary schools
Fellow(s): Chioma Ezedi
Last week, 2016 fellow Chioma Ezedi organized and hosted innov8 STEM Competition, a STEM-based event for secondary school students in Bauchi State. Chioma, a software developer, is also a co-founder of STEMTeers alongside 2015 TechWomen fellow Mercy Sosanya. With a mission to inspire innovation and technological advancement in children, STEMTeers brings engaging STEM education to youth through hands-on programming and activities.
The competition, supported in part by U.S Embassy Abuja, was themed on finding innovative solutions to waste and recycling challenges in the students’ communities. Throughout the day, more than 60 students representing 13 schools presented their ideas to a panel of judges, which included 2014 fellow Tarimin Kewa. In order to compete, students and schools were required to have at least half of their team be comprised of female students.
The winning group was an all-girl team from Al-iman Secondary School who addressed the lack of recycling and sustainable solutions in Bauchi State. Their project recycled water, turning it into cleaner water to use for domestic chores. “They were prepared with facts and statistics, even when the judges asked tough questions,” said Chioma.
Report Date...: 6/17/19
Mentor(s): Katie Penn
Mentor Type: Professional
Last week, TechWomen Professional Mentor Katie Penn presented at the 13th annual DevRelCon, held this year in San Francisco. The conference brings together developer practitioners in order to build awareness, share tools and explore solutions to diverse needs in the greater developer community.
In her talk, “Leading with authenticity: tips for growing and nurturing developer communities,” Katie, the director of developer marketing at Twitch, shared best practices for interacting authentically with diverse developer communities. Through a top 10 list, she shared best practices on increasing transparency, fostering respect and focusing on inclusivity. She encouraged leaders to admit mistakes and to lead with solutions rather than roadmaps. Recently, Katie traveled with the TechWomen delegation trip to Sierra Leone and wrote a blog post about her experience.
Report Date...: 6/17/19
Fellow shares journey to entrepreneurship
Fellow(s): Sabine El Kahi
This week, 2014 fellow Sabine El Kahi was featured in the “Women on Top” series for Berytech, an initiative that provides support to innovative and passionate entrepreneurs in Lebanon. In her interview, Sabine outlined her business and career strategies, sharing what drives her as an entrepreneur.
Sabine is the founder of Kids Genius, a STEM-based initiative that spreads maker culture to young students through hands-on activities and courses in their maker hubs. In her interview, she spoke about Kids Genius’s four makerspaces, three of which collaborate with local foundations and NGOs to serve underprivileged communities. “The main drive was my passion to have a meaningful and purposeful life,” she said. “I love and enjoy seeing the excitement on young people’s faces while working at The Makers Hub… Their eyes glow when they see the connection between what they study and how things are built and produced.”
Report Date...: 6/17/19